New Zealand trip, where to go? part 2: Castle Hill, Punakaiki, Hokitika

16 May

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map).


Drive from Akaroa to Christchurch via state highway 75. Then drive from Christchurch to Castle Hill via state highway 73.


You will see the awesome presence of limestone large rock formations in Castle Hill.

The rock formations of Castle Hill have always captured the eye of photographers. These limestone rock formations are the water eroded remnants of limestone formed during the Oligocene age 30-40 million years ago when much of present day New Zealand was covered by the sea.

The hill was named Castle Hill because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle.
Nearby Flock Hill station was the filming location of the movie “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

Photos and videos (Castle Hill):
I don’t have a good photo of castle hill, but this site has great photos: Castle Hill photos



Drive from Castle Hill to Greymouth via state highway 73. Then drive from Greymouth to Punakaiki via state highway 6.

On the way from Castle Hill to Greymouth, when you go through Arthur’s Pass road, you will see beautiful scenery (grassland, mountains, etc) : Arthur’s Pass scenery photos.


Things to see in Punakaiki: Pancake rocks & blowholes

The Pancake Rocks look like giant pancakes.They are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago from minute fragments of dead marine creatures and plants landed on the seabed. Immense water pressure caused the fragments to solidify in hard and soft layers. Gradually seismic action lifted the limestone above the seabed. Mildly acidic rain, wind and seawater sculpted the bizarre shapes.

Sometimes heavy ocean swells thunder into the caverns beneath the rocks and huge water spouts blast skywards through the blowholes in a truly spectacular sight.

Photos (Punakaiki):

I don’t have a good photo of the blowholes, but you can see a great sight of blowhole in this site: blowholes photo.



Drive from Punakaiki to Hokitika  via state highway 6.


If you think you don’t have much time to complete your 2 weeks trip itinerary, you can skip Hokitika, and go straight to Franz Josef Glacier.

Hokitika is greenstone capital of New Zealand. You’ll notice galleries specialising in pounamu (greenstone) jewellery and art works. The Arahura River, which enters the sea just north of Hokitika, is a traditional source of pounamu (greenstone).

Things to see in Hokitika:

Hokitika beach
Hokitika Gorge
Lake Mahinapua
Lake Kaniere

For more detail information, go to these sites:

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 3 (Franz Josef Glacier, via SH 6)

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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in new zealand, travel


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